WORK: Part Two

Wed 3/23/2005

So all I do all day long is open packages (see previous post). And since a lot of them come from these very fancy design firms, often there will be unnecessary notes on beautiful stationary, or in really fancy folders saying, "Call us if you have any questions!" or whatever. And if you know me, you know I SIMPLY CANNOT throw out a piece of paper if it still has one good side on it.

In college I would see flyers that had passed the date of the performance and then I would start taking them down all around campus, that and pulling out stacks of perfectly good paper from the trash, etc. etc. I had a stack of about 1000 sheets of paper by the time I left Oberlin and I've carried it around with me ever since. I use them for plotting Comics, sketching roughs, making lists and now with my new Printer, PRINTING on the good side.

So anyways, I've started bringing paper home from work. The pages inside Fed Ex slips, duplicate entry forms, spacer sheets and other unnecessary paper that turns up. I already have probably 1500 sheets(?) and at this point I am taking home anywhere from 20 to 100 sheets of paper a day. That's where it started...but now I'm taking home manilla envelopes at a rate of about 50 a day (I'll use them to send out the next issues of Phase 7!) and also folders and large pieces of newsprint and pretty much anything else that I can't stand to see thrown out.

The real killer though was the other day I unpacked these posters that were shipped between two LARGE SHEETS of REALLY GOOD cardboard. If you don't know, I'm a bit obsessed with cardboard... (I built a MAN out of Cardboard and also a CHAIR). Anyways, I was telling myself to just put them on the stack to be recycled, but this was DOUBLE-PLY cardboard... PERFECT for the end pieces of another cardboard chair... And big enough that I could really do a crazy design this time... But I don't really have TIME or the SPACE to build another chair right now, especially because it would mean I'd need to start wandering the streets looking for good cardboard on weekends. But man...this cardboard. I mean, there have been times in my life when I would have KILLED for these pieces of cardboard...

So I took them home.

I know, I know. I'm hopeless. Filling my room with paper products. But I SWEAR, someday they will get used. You'll see. I mean I'm going to ART SCHOOL, right? I'm going to need materials! It's just that I can't bare to see paper get thrown out. And recycling at a business here is so sketchy. I've totally seen trash collectors just throw out recyclables. A lot of people here in the "BIG CITY" just don't care. It's too far removed. But if you've ever been up into the cascade mountains, you've seen clear cut. And if you've driven along I-5 from Seattle to Portland you've seen the logging trucks and the lumber yards.

I'm going to wait until my kids are old enough to understand what's going on, then one weekend I'm going to drive them up into the mountains and take them on a nice hike through the woods. We'll have a nice lunch and hike back down to the car. Then I'll drive them to a giant clear-cut so they can see the utter destruction. That night I'll give them my stack of paper that I've been carrying around for 20 years. Then that Sunday I'll drive them up to the LANDFILL, so they can see where all their trash goes. (I'd recommend that for all of you reading too, if you've never been).

YOU DO ALL REALIZE THAT PAPER IS MADE OUT OF TREES, RIGHT? I almost have panic attacks thinking about this, but take ANYTHING--some random thing you do every day and ACTUALLY think of the paper consumption. Let's say you go to the BOOKSTORE (oh god...) You buy a BOOK. The cover jacket, the cardboard inside the binding, the pages, the bag the clerk gives you, your receipt, the stupid promotional postcard they stick in there. ALL PAPER. ALL DEAD TREES. NOT TO MENTION THE BILLIONS OF COPIES OF MILLIONS OF BOOKS AND MAGAZINES IN BOOKSTORES ALL OVER THE CITY, STATE, COUNTRY AND WORLD!!!! And YES, I know about recycling, I check it on every single thing I buy and AT BEST most papers are rating about 30% post-consumer content these days. That's good and all, but you can't see that and just forget about the OTHER SEVENTY PERCENT that is DEAD TREES.

Augggghhhhhh. I'm sorry. This totally turned into a rant. But it KILLS me every day when I deal with this stuff. (Don't get me started on PRINTING A COMIC BOOK and the guilt THAT causes!!!) It's a MIRACLE that there are any trees left on earth at all. So here's what I'm saying: DON'T YOU DARE THROW OUT A PIECE OF PAPER. And furthermore, USE EVERY SQUARE INCH OF IT before you Recycle it. And then DO RECYCLE it. And start using a goddamned HANKERCHIEF people. Think it's gross? Then buy 7 of them for $7 dollars and use a new one every day then do some friggin laundry. I garuntee you'll never touch snot twice. And you'll stop killing that ammount of trees (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE) just for blowing your stupid nose into some soft tissue (which is not softer than COTTON by the way) Also: can we PLEASE legalize hemp? Paper made from a YEARLY CROP instead of trees that take 20 years to regrow???? COME ON!!!

Okay...I'm going to just stop. Because I could keep going. But I won't. But please THINK about this stuff. Lord knows I do...

NEXT: A million dollar idea for anyone who wants it: DISTRIBUTION.

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